Protest and Manifestation in Haiti

Haiti has historically been besieged by violent upheavals against its governing systems. Securing independence from its status as a slave possession in 1801, ex-slave Toussaint Louverture led the Haitian Revolution, making a conquest of Haiti, and naming himself Governor-General.


Jean-Jacques Dessalines succeeded Louverture in 1804, ruling until his assassination in 1806. Haiti then became a black-dominated northern region and mulatto elite-governed southern region. In 1915, the U.S. began occupying Haiti as a result of another conflict between mulatto elites and blacks. The U.S., concerned about its business interests, stayed until 1934.

When U.S. occupation ended, coup d'etats and provisional presidencies marked the period 1934-1971, until dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier came to office. By 1986, mass uprisings against Duvalier forced him into exile. Henri Namphy, lieutenant general in the Haitian Army, became president after Duvalier's exit.

In December 2001, after Aristide won a second term as president, rebels carrying weapons stormed the National Palace. In a failed coup, they slew a dozen palace administrators. In 2004, insurrectionists fomented mass protests against Aristide, forcing him to flee Haiti. A provisional government then took charge.

In April 2008, violent protests erupted over government-controlled pricing of rice. Immediately, the government cut prices to quell the violence. Parliament relieved Prime Minister Alexis of his duties related to the rice controversy.

During July 2010, Haitians' anger spiked when efforts to re-build, after the January 2010 earthquake, had made little progress.

In October 2012, large-scale protests broke out over escalating food and housing costs. Blaming Martelly, protestors allege he has reneged on his commitment to eradicate poverty and want his resignation.

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